Here’s Part Four of our series of blog posts about key mindfulness practices, designed to help you get started with mindfulness or refresh your existing practice. In this post, you’ll find:
- Information on the benefits of practising mindful movement
- A guided audio for you to follow
- Hints and tips on how to get the best out of this exercise.
Why this practice?
The three previous practices we’ve looked at in this series all involved sitting or lying down and keeping still.
If you’re feeling restless or anxious, though, staying still—even for just 10 minutes—can feel like a real challenge! One useful way to bring yourself out of a restless or anxious mind and back into the present moment is to practice moving your body mindfully, focusing your attention on what your body does and how it feels while you’re moving.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling particularly sleepy, it can be difficult to stay alert and awake during a seated meditation—even more so if you are lying down! It’s much easier to stay alert if you’re moving.
Before you practice
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of this practice:
- In this guided audio, we’ll experiment with mindful walking. The principles of mindful movement, though, can be applied to many different types of movement. You might practice yoga or Tai Chi mindfully, for instance, or simply practice by moving and stretching your arms and hands.
- To remind yourself you’re doing something purposefully mindful, rather than switching to ‘auto-pilot,’ try walking at a slower pace than normal. If you change the way you walk or move, you’ll find it easier to stay in the present moment without drifting off into your thoughts.
- As best you can, stay connected with your breath and try to remain open to your sensory experiences.
- When your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to the part of your body you’re moving. Remember it doesn’t matter how many times your mind wanders—simply bring your focus back to your movements, kindly and gently.
- Allow yourself around 10 minutes for this practice.
- It’s best if you keep your eyes open while doing this exercise.
- Experiment every now and then with expanding your awareness to include your whole body or the sights, sounds and smells around you. Be curious about what you experience.
- You can try using mindful movement as a way of preparing yourself for other mindful practices. Spending some time moving mindfully may help dispel restlessness or anxiety so that you’ll feel comfortable about sitting still for other practices.
More Mindfulness Basics
Part One, Settling the mind
Part Two, The body scan
Part Three, Mindfulness of the senses